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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Archaeologists find door to the afterlife

From: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

Archaeologists have unearthed a 3,500-year-old door to the afterlife from the tomb of a high-ranking Egyptian official near Karnak temple in Luxor.


Archaeologists find door to the afterlife
Nearly six-foot tall nearly six-foot-tall the slab of pink granite was used as a false door in the tomb of User, the chief minister of Queen Hatshepsut Photo: AP

The recessed niches found in nearly all ancient Egyptian tombs were meant to take the spirits of the dead to and from the afterworld. The nearly six-foot- tall (1.75 meters) slab of pink granite was covered with religious texts.

The door came from the tomb of User, the chief minister of Queen Hatshepsut, a powerful, 15th century BC queen from the New Kingdom with a famous mortuary temple near Luxor in southern Egypt.

User held the position of vizier for 20 years, also acquiring the titles of prince and mayor of the city, according to the inscriptions. He may have inherited his position from his father.

Viziers in ancient Egypt were powerful officials tasked with the day-to-day running of the kingdom's complex bureaucracy.

As a testament to his importance, User had his own tomb on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor, where royal kings and queens were also buried. A chapel dedicated to him has also been discovered further south in the hills near Aswan.

The stone itself was long way from its tomb and had apparently been removed from the grave and then incorporated into the wall of a Roman-era building, more than a thousand years later.

False doors were placed in the west walls of tombs and faced offering tables where food and drink were left for the spirit of the deceased.

A Tribute to Revenge of the Nerds’ Booger


The favorite character of children who see the 1984 classic Revenge of the Nerds is easily Dudley “Booger” Dawson, played by Curtis Armstrong. Kids can relate to him because of the nose picking, think he’s hilarious because he wins the burping contest, and admire him because he turns a lame party into this:

Now that we dipped into the Nerds video, let’s take a look at some of Booger’s funniest scenes.

Booger also knows how to wear a fashionable T-shirt.

I couldn’t find this one for sale except on cafepress.com, which is a site that any schmuck can put words on a T-shirt and sell it.

High On Stress White T-shirt Tee

Best Booger Quotes

[Lewis and Gilbert are discussing Gilbert's girlfriend, innocently]
Booger: Big deal! Did you get in her pants?
Gilbert: She’s not that kind of girl, Booger.
Booger: Why? Does she have a penis?

Booger: This is bullshit! I want bush, pan down.

Takashi: Excuse please, but why do they call you “booger”?
Booger: [picking his nose] I don’t know.

Stan Gable: What are you looking at, nerd?
Booger: I thought I was looking at my mother’s old douche-bag, but that’s in Ohio.

[Booger is teaching Takashi poker]
Takashi: I think I’ve got a frush.
Booger: What the fuck’s a frush?
Takashi: [showing his royal flush] A *frush*.
Booger: [showing his cards] Oh, well I’ve got two sevens and two sevens beats a frush.
Takashi: Oh, thank you.

Booger: I say we blow the fuckers up.

Judy: Maybe we should eat?
Harold Wormser: Maybe we should watch TV?
Booger: Hey guys…
[opens his leather jacket to reveal some Marijuana cigarettes]
Booger: … wonder joints.

Takashi: Maybe we should have robster craws.
Booger: [adjusting his shirt] What the fuck are robster craws?

Lewis: [planning the party] Do any of you have dates, besides Gilbert?
Lamar Latrell: I do!
Booger: Yeah, but that’s with a guy.
Lewis: Well, what about you, Booger?
Booger: I’ve been out combing the High Schools all day!

Booger: We’ve got bush!

[Booger and Takeshi are trying to look at a naked girl who hides behind a large roommate]
Booger: Step aside momma, I wanna see some of that muff!
Takashi: Oh Hair pie! Hair pie!

More Booger Clothing

‘Bush’ Movie Line T-Shirt

Lambda Booger 69 Black Adult Hoodie Sweathshirt

Lambda Booger 69 Black Adult T-shirt Tee

Top Executive Salaries in America

By: Matt Buttell, Web Editor
Over the past three decades, executive compensation has risen dramatically, far surpassing the wage of the average American worker.

In a modern US corporation, the CEO and other top executives are paid salary plus short-term incentives or bonuses. This combination is referred to as 'Total Cash Compensation' (TCC). Short-term incentives usually are formula-driven and have some performance criteria attached depending on the role of the executive. For example, a CEO's could be based on incremental profitability and revenue growth.

(Click Graphic to View Full Size)


A variety of people and companies appear in AFL-CIO's list of 100 highest paid CEOs in 2009 from technology to food and consumer goods, to healthcare.

Leading the way

Leading the way, is Oracle Corporation, a multinational computer technology corporation, which by 2007 had the third-largest software revenue, after Microsoft and IBM. They gave their CEO Lawrence J. Ellison a total compensation package leading the way at $56.8 million.

Ellison founded Oracle in 1977, putting up a mere $1400 of his own money, under the name Software Development Laboratories (SDL). In 1979, the company was renamed Relational Software Inc., later renamed Oracle after the flagship product Oracle database. Oracle has faced its tough times though, 1990 saw it laying off 10 percent of its staff and having a near miss with bankrupcty. Over the year, Ellison has turned his company round. This year has seen the European Union approve the acquisition by Oracle of Sun Microsystems and has agreed that "Oracle's acquisition of Sun has the potential to revitalize important assets and create new and innovative products."

Then you have the likes of Proctor & Gamble in the list, a multinational company which manufacturers a wide range of consumer goods, and who is early 2010, became the forth largest corporation in the US by market capitalization, surpassed only by Exxon Mobil, Microsoft, and Walmart, who paid their former CEO, A. G. Lafley a total of $23.6 million in 2009, his last year before retirement.

Mentioning Walmart, their former CEO made it on here too. In 2009, their CEO, H. Lee Scott Jr brought home $30.1 million in compensation, which was mainly made up of his salary alone. But in actual fact, 2009 saw Scott leaving the company in the January. Walmart frequently came under criticism by the media and the public during Scott's tenure. Lafley is largely credited for turning around P&G during his tenure under the mantra 'Consumer is Boss'. During his leadership, sales doubled, profits quadrupled, and P&G’s market value increased by more than $100 billion dollars.

Only woman

The only woman to feature on the list is Brenda C. Barnes, CEO of Sara Lee, and previously the first CEO of PepsiCo North America. Barnes has been making a name for herself for a number of years now, having been ranked in Forbes list of 'The World's 100 Most Powerful Women' since 2004. Then in 2009 she appeared at number 29 in Forbes list of 'The World's 100 Most Powerful Women'.

Barnes has shown that after taking time out to raise a family, you can also achieve a career - a very successful career to be ranked. In 2009, Barnes raked in $15,231,519 in total compensation. By comparison, the average worker made $40,690 - she made 374 times the average worker's pay.

Justifying the numbers

To put this in even greater perspective even our nation's top political executive, President Barack Obama, earnt little over $400,000 last year. The debate as to whether CEOs warrant such astronomical salaries will undoubtedly rage on, even more so in the wake of such a devastating global recession. But surely, they must be doing something right...

South Park Takes on Medical Marijuana

On this week's South Park, opinions are split when medical marijuana comes to town. Randy does everything he can to get a prescription, but Cartman is upset to find his beloved KFC replaced by a pot dispensary. I'll personally be watching this episode very closely, because medical marijuana is an issue that's very important to me. You see, I was born with a genetic condition that makes it so I can only eat Cheez-Its in moderation. You can imagine how debilitating it is. But with medical marijuana, I'm able to eat an entire box in one sitting. Two boxes if there's a Golden Girls marathon on.

South Park airs Wednesday at 10pm / 9c, followed by an all-new Ugly Americans.

One Day We'll All Have a Living Room Lamborghini

By: Brian Barrett: bbarrett@gizmodo.com
From: http://gizmodo.com/

One Day We'll All Have a Living Room  Lamborghini"I want a 9 car garage and be able to enjoy viewing one of them in the living room." And so it came to pass, and the people rejoiced. I love it when rich people go bonkers, don't you?

Honestly, if I had a sweet Lamborghini I'd want to stare at it from my couch, too. This Tokyo (naturally) home was gamely designed by Takuya Tsuchida, who received the instruction above from a client with very particular taste.

Note that the car is on a platform that raises and lowers as you please, placing either in your home or below it. Remember, it's not crazy: it's eccentric. And totally, unbelievably badass. [What We Do Is Secret via Today and Tomorrow]



Buried for 27 days: Haiti earthquake survivor's amazing story

Trapped in the rubble for one month after Haiti's massive earthquake, Evans Monsignac thought he was dead. Here the man thought to be the longest-ever earthquake survivor talks exclusively to Jacqui Goddard.

Evans Monsignac : Buried for 27 days: Haiti earthquake survivor's  amazing story
Evans Monsignac survived 27 buried underneath earthquake rubble, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti Photo: POLARIS

For the last 10 weeks, Evans Monsignac has struggled to understand how and why he is still alive. So remarkable is his survival, that at times it has been easier for him to think that he must in fact be dead.

Severely malnourished, dehydrated, deeply traumatised and with festering wounds, the frail slum-dweller's survival was hailed a miracle when he emerged after an extraordinary 27 days trapped in the ruins of Haiti's earthquake, confounding doctors and defying medical logic. It is believed to be the longest anyone has endured such an ordeal.

Now recovering in a US hospital, he has spoken for the first time of his horrific ordeal, sharing haunting memories that until now have been locked away in his head.

"I still don't understand how I'm here," he admitted, his skeletal body resting limply in an intensive care bed at Tampa General Hospital, Florida. "I was resigned to death. But God gave me life. The fact that I'm alive today isn't because of me, it's because of the grace of God. It's a miracle, I can't explain it."

Mr Monsignac, 27, a father of two, was the last person found alive under the debris after an earthquake levelled Port-au-Prince on Jan 12. His relatives say simply that someone, they do not know who, came across him while working through the rubble on Feb 8 and rushed him, delusional and rambling, to an emergency clinic.

Even his name was a mystery, variously recorded by medics as Evans Monsigrace, Evans Muncie and Evan Ocinia. A plastic hospital bracelet on his bony left wrist spells it out correctly now.

Countering speculation that he must have had access to food and clean water while trapped, he shook his head. "No," he said emphatically, and no one else was involved in his epic struggle for survival; just himself and God. He was pinned by concrete slabs, saw nobody and heard only the screams of the dying. "I had no contact with anybody. None. Nobody bought me anything," he insisted.

The appalling reality, he said, is that he survived by sipping sewage that oozed underneath the rubble of the marketplace where he was buried, a place where sanitation was lacking even before the earthquake.

"It was trickling past where I was lying.I felt it under my body," he saids. He shifted his right arm weakly on the bed, turning his empty palm upwards and forming it into a scoop before raising it towards his mouth to demonstrate how he collected and drank the foul liquid.

Even before the earthquake struck, killing an estimated 230,000 people, injuring 300,000 and rendering one million homeless, life had been a struggle for Mr Monsignac, a dirt-poor market vendor who scratched a living selling rice and cooking oil.

On the day disaster struck, he had woken at 5am at his home in Portail St-Joseph - a slum where he lived with his mother Jeanne Edmond Monsignac, his wife Gerline, 20, daughter Keline and son Michael, both aged four - and caught a bus to La Saline marketplace, where he set up under an awning.

"As soon as I finished selling the last batch of rice the earthquake happened. Suddenly things were just flying all over and flattening me," he recalls. "I said 'Oh Lord, I'm dying.' I tried to turn to the right, but I was pinned down by rock, I tried to turn to the left, I was pinned down with rock."

Looking up, he saw a slab of debris thundering towards him as buildings collapsed on the market. "A piece of concrete was falling to my face but then it was like someone came and pulled it back. I don't know if it was God, if it was a snake," he said, referring to the Haitian voodoo snake spirits.

"This piece just stopped above me. But still I couldn't move. I heard so many screams all over, people screaming loudly. I just lifted up my eyes and prayed because I couldn't understand what was going on."

The exact details of what happened over the next 27 days remain a mystery, registering as only a blur in Mr Monsignac's traumatised mind as he drifted in and out of consciousness inside his precariously-formed tomb, losing all concept of time.

"I'm lying on my back. I was so scared because if I turn one way I will get hurt and if I turn another way I get hurt. If I move it will bring death. So I lay straight," he told The Sunday Telegraph.

"I didn't think of anything, just death. I could smell death from others - there were a lot of people under the rubble with me but the screaming was one day only. Then it was quiet..it was dark all the time. Every time I came out of consciousness I prayed, I prayed that God would rescue me, give me life.

"I thought I was dead. I was in shock. On the second day, maybe the third day, I realised I seemed to be alive and I saw this water. I was hungry and thirsty and I tried to drink something but it was making me sick in my belly. I would take my little finger and wet my lips and swallow it, but the sicker I got as time went on."

He recalls nothing of his rescue, of feeling the sunlight on his face for the first time in nearly a month as he was finally discovered and taken first to a Salvation Army medical centre and then to a field hospital run by the University of Miami before being treated aboard the USS comfort hospital ship and then flown here to Tampa on February 21.

"The only thing I can remember is thinking 'I'm free, I'm not dying,'" he said.

His lanky frame is stick thin - he weighed just 40kgs (88lbs) when he was admitted, having shed 27kgs (60lbs) during his ordeal - and his bones bulge below his papery brown skin. His right forearm bears deep red sores, and his fingernails are stained with dried blood from scratching at them.

His eyes are lifeless and he stares blankly for much of the time at a television mounted high on the wall in his room, watching the images but understanding nothing of the words.

Despite being severely dehydrated when he was found, his survival without any damage to his kidneys is considered remarkable.

"He calls himself a miracle? He's right," says Dr David Smith, medical director of Tampa General's burns centre, where Mr Monsignac has undergone skin grafts on his wounds. He is also receiving painkillers through an intravenous line and drugs to deal with gastro-intestinal troubles including diarrhea and cramping. Remarkably for someone who endured such severe dehydration, his kidney function is normal.

"We don't know what happened during those 27 days but his story isn't unbelievable," said Dr Smith.

Mr Monsignac likes chocolate milk and had just nibbled a piece of toast and a boiled egg, but has mostly been rejecting food, despite special menus rustled up by a Haitian cook in the hospital kitchens. He is still "desperately malnourished", said his doctor, "His major problem is nutrition," Dr Smith explained.

"If he was from the US we would put a tube down his nose to feed him, but in Haitian culture if they have a tube like that it implies that they are going to die. When he first came in, we put 12 tubes in him in eight hours and he pulled them all out, screaming from the psychological trauma."

He is also suffering from post-traumatic shock, sometimes melting down into fits of screaming. He periodically moans and turns his head on the pillow, calling to nurses for more painkillers, or drawing his blanket over his head and retreating.

Yet his current state of mind is an improvement compared to when he first arrived here, one of 62 Haitian earthquake victims treated at Tampa General. Plucked from one of the world's poorest countries and a life of destitution, the transition to a modern, high-tech American hospital where doctors and nurses move around him in surgical masks and gowns has been overwhelming.

"The problem with these patients is they are all terrified," sdaid Dr Smith. "They have had a horrific experience. When Evans arrived he was convinced that his mother had sold him to white slave traders and he was going to be a slave for the rest of his life. He didn't see us as medical people trying to help him."

Reverend Celillon Alteme, the hospital's chaplain, is Haitian and has befriended Mr Monsignac, helping to breach the culture differences and language barrier. At times, he said, Mr Monsignac "thought the doctors and nurses were going to kill him."

"He wanted to die. We had to talk with him gently, we assured him it was safe," he added.

Mr Monsignac has weeks of treatment ahead of him, but fantasises about rejoining his family in Haiti and starting life afresh.

When The Sunday Telegraph found them living under tarpaulins in a ruined factory, they were overjoyed to hear the details of Mr Monsignac's recovery. They have been in sporadic telephone contact with him and know that he is anxious to leave hospital as soon as possible. "He wants to see his family but I want him to say until he gets strong," his mother said.

They had given up hope of his survival, and only learnt afterwards that he had been rescued in a phone call from friends. Marie Monsignac, his elder sister, said: "We were happy because we didn't know if he had died!"

Mr Monsignac said: "I'm feeling helpless. I'm the only breadwinner in the family. My children are on the streets. They are very sad, they are hungry. If they could understand I would tell them 'Have courage. One day we will be together again.'"

If his ordeal taught him anything, it is that hope springs eternal, he says, adding: "Those who are sick should have the courage to live and pray to God, and those who are healthy need to cherish their life and to pray. Now I know that I must live life to the best I can each day."

Erykah Badu Went to Dealey Plaza, Got Naked, Shot Video. City Hall Distances!


badunude.jpg
On March 17, Erykah Badu and a small crew went down to Dealey Plaza to shoot a very naked video for "Window Seat."

Earlier this morning, Pete posted the evidence to DC9: Erykah Badu's "Window Seat" video, the latest informercial for New Amerykah Part Two: The Return of the Ankh, in stores tomorrow. Since its release in the wee small hours Saturday morning, the video -- filmed entirely in Dealey Plaza in one take on March 17 -- has become the subject of much controversy, not only because of where it was shot, but because of Erykah's decision to take it off take it all off (Matt & Kim-style) in front of Grassy Knoll bystanders on her way to the X-marks-the-spot where John Kennedy was shot to death in November '63. Then, in the end, there's a shout-out to The Organization Man himself, as the word "groupthink" spills out onto the asphalt.

Erykah's having fun with the attention as the video transitions from music blogs to news sites. Says she via Twitter, "ive been punished AND rewarded enough times by love and life to dedicate the whole thing to EVOLVING. i am happy. i expected the gossip blog sites to spin it negatively. i expected people to ride with me."

Except, maybe, Dallas City Hall. Schutze's bestest bud Frank Librio just sent an e-mail in which 1500 Marilla Street says no way no how did it approve the video shoot.
All commercial film/video or photo shoot projects must be permitted through the City of Dallas Office of Special Events/Film Coordinators. The production company that produced this video never contacted the City to seek the proper permits. This is known as "guerilla filming" where production companies circumvent the proper permitting procedures and usually shoot these scenes in one take knowing that if they are discovered they would face arrest and/or penalties.
Update: Since the video keeps coming and going from YouTube, you'll find it after the jump. For now.


Cannabis Caviar: $1,400-an-ounce marijuana promises a bang for your buck


caviar-close.jpg
Cannabis caviar: Glistening with pricey possibilities.

So you think you're a connoisseur, what with your cans of Beluga, Kobe steaks and stash of 1998 Dom Perignon? Think again if you haven't gotten your hands on cannabis caviar, a new kind of top-shelf marijuana popping up at Colorado dispensaries that sells for the astronomical price of $1,400 an ounce -- nearly four times the average price of other high-grade strains.

"This isn't stuff you are sitting around puffing all day," says Jake, general manager of the ReLeaf Center, a Denver dispensary that's selling caviar made in house for $60 a gram. "This is the definition of a one-hitter quitter."

It ain't your grandpa's pot. Caviar is made by soaking marijuana buds in a potent stain of hash oil -- thick, sticky and concentrated liquid cannabis made from dissolving hashish or marijuana in solvents like acetone, alcohol or butane. Once the oil's soaked into the marijuana buds, the whole shebang is allowed to dry for several weeks or months.

The result is a potent marijuana smorgasbord: high-grade marijuana, with between 5 and 20 percent THC, infused with 30 to 80 percent THC hash oil. It also burns for long periods of time, notes Jake, although he adds a word of caution about taste: "It's rough."

People looking for a smooth-tasting product should look elsewhere, he says. "It's for people who want to smoke less, need longer effects, or have medical needs that absolutely require them to take large amounts of THC in. It's going to have a stronger medical benefit."

That's putting it mildly. To try some for yourself, keep an eye out for "caviar" on the top shelf of your local dispensary. It's also been called "California Raisins," though as Jake notes, "That name is falling out of favor in the ongoing weed war between Colorado and California."

And with stuff like caviar, we just might have one up on our marijuana-loving neighbors to the west.

No Flash On The iPad? No Problem. Brightcove Turns Videos Into HTML5.


by Erick Schonfeld
from http://techcrunch.com/

The lack of Flash on the iPad is a sore point for many and often listed as one of its greatest potential weaknesses. Not allowing Flash on the iPhone is bad enough, but on the larger iPad with full-screen browsing, its absence will be much more noticeable. Or will it? Already the Web is adapting. Videos powered by Brightcove, for instance, will stream in an HTML5 video player when it detects an iPad. On the iPhone browser, the video thumbnail will open up the Quicktime player. It will also work on Android phones.

Brightcove CEO Jeremy Allaire is agnostic about the Flash Vs. HTML5 debate. “HTML5 is great,” he says. “It is an open standard, and firmly entrenched in the Apple device platform. Flash can’t reach those platforms for political and business reasons.” But HTML5 simply cannot do everything Flash can, especially when it comes to supporting advertising, audience measurement, customized players, and social sharing. So he decided to bring HTML5 video to parity with Flash for anyone who uses Brightcove. (Note that this is for videos playing in the browser. Brightcove already supports video playback in iPhone apps).

It will take until the end of the year to reach full parity with Flash, but that is his goal. At first, Brightcove videos will play back in a very basic HTML5 player when they detect an iPad. But over the next nine months or so, Brightcove will add the same audience measurement and advertising features available in its regular Flash player. Brightcove will still display the video in Flash when the viewing device supports it, but for the iPad, iPhone, and even Android phones, videos will play in HTML5 and most viewers probably won’t notice the difference.

Already today you can see who these videos work on the iPhone. For example, Brightcove turned on the capability for Techcrunch videos such as this one when viewed in an iPhone browser. When the iPad comes out, you will be able to watch our videos on there as well, along with videos on the sites of the New York Times and Time magazine, who also use Brightcove.

Making HTML5 playback available is just something all video platforms will eventually do. Ooyala is set to offer it for the iPad as well, and YouTube is moving in that direction as well.

get widgetminimize
Brightcove image
Website: brightcove.com
Location:Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Funding: $91.1M

Brightcove is an Internet TV platform/network that allows content makers to monetize their content with ad revenues. The site has two different content makers in mind, independents and established media entities. Brightcove provides different… Learn More

iPad image
Company: Apple
Website: apple.com/ipad
Launch Date: January 27, 2010

The Apple iPad, formerly referred to as the Apple Tablet, is a touch-pad tablet computer announced in January 2010, to be shipped on… Learn More

Solid Words from Colin Powell

From: http://achieveandbelieve.blogspot.com

A new year, a fresh start. A time to consider your habits and your plan.
As you begin 2010, consider these words of wisdom from Colin Powell:

The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve.
Anytime you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity.
An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people.
As you grow your associates will change.
Some of your friends will not want you to go on.
They will want you to stay where you are.
Friends that don’t help you climb will want you to crawl.
Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream.
Those that don’t increase you will eventually decrease you.

Consider this:
Never receive council from unproductive people.
Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those that never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how.
Not everyone has a right to speak into your life.
You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person.
Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere.

With some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it.
Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life.
Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships.
If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights.
“A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.”
The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate – for the good and the bad.

Note: Be not mistaken.
This is applicable to family as well as friends.
Yes, do love, appreciate and be thankful for your family, for they will always be your family no matter what.
Just know that they are human first and though they are family to you, they may be a friend to someone else and will fit somewhere in the criteria above.

“In Prosperity Our Friends Know Us.
In Adversity We Know Our Friends.”

“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”

Great advice! Ask yourself how these words may apply to you. Make sure that Excellence is your prevailing attitude each and every day and make 2010 your most successful year yet!!

Cam

Building a Pyramid.... He keeps going higher and higher .....


This is from the movie "La teta i la lluna" - The Tit and the Moon

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111403/

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1705654941 ... jump to about 3:36

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lost by Hitchcock


Special shout out to Saul Bass who designed the title sequences to Hitchcock’s films.

Preview: The Hottest Debuts @ the 2010 New York Auto Show

The New York International Auto Show is less than a week away, and as the auto world waits enthusiastically to see what the global automakers have in store, we thought it would be a good time to give you a preview of what to expect at this years show. As the show’s Director, Candida Romanelli puts it, “Whether you’re in the mood for a new car, or just fantasizing about your dream ride of the future, the New York Auto Show has got just what you’re looking for,“. So sit back, and take a look at some of the hottest vehicles set for debut this year.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

This lightweight sports car comes complete with Gullwing doors and the ultimate handling dynamics. It comes powered by a 6.3L, V8 front-mid engine that develops 571 hp when coupled with a seven-speed double-declutch transmission and sports suspension with aluminum double wishbones.

“the new ultimate sports machine” – Automobile Magzine

Mercedes Benz SLS AMG 2011 New York Auto Show e1269567842314  Preview: The Hottest Debuts @ the 2010 New York Auto Show

Audi A8

Complete with a light aluminum body, powerful and efficient engines and improved MMI control system, the new Audi A8 is slated to arrive in dealerships later this year. The Audi A8 comes equipped with an FSI direct injection 4.2L V8 engine that outputs 350 hp.

“meant to appeal to wealthy consumers looking for maximum luxury and space” – Edmunds.com

2011 audi a8 New York Auto Show Preview: The Hottest Debuts @ the  2010 New York Auto Show

SAAB 9-5

In spite of all the commotion experienced during its sale to Spyker, SAAB seem’s to have done itself an unmistakable job with this Scandinavian beauty that is based of SAAB’s Aero X Concept. The 2.8L, V6 engine is enhanced by a Borg-Warner twin-scroll turbocharger, which results in 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque

“a clear resurgence of past design traits married to a modern, sleek profile” – MotorAuthority

2010 saab 9 5 New York Auto Show Preview: The Hottest Debuts @ the  2010 New York Auto Show

Ford Shelby GT500

The 2011 Ford Shelby GT500 is expected to take high performance to a whole-new level with improved handling capabilities, driving dynamics and fuel efficiency. It comes loaded with a muscular 5.4L all-aluminum V-8 engine that generates up to 550 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque.

“has the aluminum powerplant we all wanted…, and the effect is absolutely en-lightening.” – Autos.aol.com

2011 ford shelby gt500 New York Auto Show Preview: The Hottest  Debuts @ the 2010 New York Auto Show

Honda CR-Z

After sales figures that exceeded expectations by ten-fold in Japan, the sleek, stylish and sporty Honda CR-Z sport hybrid coupe is bound to give the Toyota Prius its first real competition. Powered by a 1.5L i-VTEC engine and Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) electric system, the CR-Z hybrid coupe is expected to hit a mileage of 36 mpg city/38 mpg highway.

“Transforming the automotive landscape” – MotorTrend Magazine.

2011 honda cr z  New York Auto Show Preview: The Hottest Debuts @  the 2010 New York Auto Show

Infiniti M-Series

This luxurious performance sedan comes with a slew of latest technology features, including the Blind Spot Navigation (world’s first system to help avoid blind spots) and Eco Pedal (encourages eco-driving behavior). The M37 comes loaded with a 3.7L, V6 engine that outputs 330 hp, while the M56 comes with a direct injection 5.6L, V8 that delivers 420 hp.

“M has gone from a good-looking sedan to a gorgeous, exotic-looking car from the future.” – cars.about.com

Nissan 2011 Infiniti M Sedan Preview: The Hottest Debuts @ the  2010 New York Auto Show

Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai seems to be one of the fastest growing brands, and that claim seems to have been substantiated by Kelly Blue Books (KBB) analysis that Hyundai beat Toyota for “Brand Loyalty” for the first time this year. Hyundai’s popular mid-size sedan, based on their new “fluidic sculpture” design comes with a Theta II 2.4-liter gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine that delivers 198 hp.

“the perfect symbol of Hyundai’s transformation.” – The Truth About Cars.

2011 hyundai sonata Cabriolet New York Auto Show Preview: The  Hottest Debuts @ the 2010 New York Auto Show

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet

This fabric-top two-door E-Class Cabriolet from the Mercedes-Benz staple exudes confidence and style like none other. It comes in a choice of either a 3.5L, V6 delivering 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque in the form of the E350, or a 5.5L, V8 that churns out 382 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque in the form of the E550 cab.

“2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet is a smooth Spanish Fly(er)” – Autoblog

Mercedes Benz E Class Cabriolet New York Auto Show e1269561946909  Preview: The Hottest Debuts @ the 2010 New York Auto Show

Nissan Juke

Based off the Nissan Qazana concept crossover we saw at last years Geneva Motor Show, the slightly larger Nissan Juke comes with a squared-off roofline along with a pair of extra doors. In the European markets the Nissan Juke is available in either a 1.5-liter turbo-diesel I-4, or one of two 1.6-liter I-4s, one of which comes with a turbocharger.

“filling a niche between the Versa hatchback and Rogue crossover.” – Consumer Report

2011 nissan juke New York Auto Show Preview: The Hottest Debuts @  the 2010 New York Auto Show

Porsche Cayenne

The lighter, more powerful and fuel-efficient Porsche Cayenne comes with a complete interior and exterior styling re-design. Watch out for the Cayenne S Hybrid – a highly advanced full hybrid that delivers the performance of an eight cylinder with the fuel-economy of a six cylinder. It packs 333-hp, through its supercharged V-6 engine teamed with a 47-hp electric motor.

“…the Cayenne isn’t the sportiest member of the Porsche range, but it does offer a level of precision, feel, and driver gratification that is lacking in many other luxury SUVs” – MotorTrend Magazine.

2011 porsche cayenne New York Auto Show Preview: The Hottest  Debuts @ the 2010 New York Auto Show

Russia cuts time zones to 9 on Sunday

By Maxim Tkachenko,
CNN

Click to play
Russia losing two time zones

Moscow (CNN) -- The world's largest country by land mass is challenging time: This weekend, Russia is cutting the number of its time zones from 11 to 9.

"The less fractional division of the country will enable us to resolve a number of transport and communications issues, will increase its manageability and strengthen the position of Russia as an important chain in the world's global infrastructure," President Dmitry Medvedev said at a special Kremlin meeting devoted to the issues of time change.

Technically speaking, five Russian regions -- two in European Russia and three in Siberia -- will not join the rest of the country in moving the clock one hour forward to daylight saving time at 2 a.m. Sunday, thus coming a little closer to Moscow.

Aman Tuleyev, governor of the Siberian coal-mining region of Kemerovo, which will undergo a time zone change, said at the Kremlin meeting that the existing time zone span doesn't make a lot of sense.

"You travel just a 100 miles to any neighboring city in our area and need to switch your watch one hour back, then move it one hour forward again upon return. This has been creating needless confusion for both businesses and regular people," he said.

Some local governments of the regions where the time zone change will take place have been lobbying in favor of this measure for years, and overwhelmingly supported the proposed federal initiative.

But not everybody is happy.


Video: Cost of daylight-saving

In Samara, the closest region to Moscow to experience a time zone change, a series of modest-size protests took place against what activists called a darker future. With the new time, they'll see sunset one hour earlier, which they fear will result in higher electricity bills for the population and translate into a rise in street crime.

"In winter, school kids would be walking back home in darkness, while we adults would barely see any sunlight after we finish work," one activist told CNN by phone.

Last November, in his annual State of the Nation address, the Russian president proposed an even more radical reform. He suggested not only to cut the number of time zones in Russia but also abolish the current switch to daylight saving time, which the country has been doing since 1981.

Throughout this year, government officials and scientists will closely examine the consequences of the time reform in the five Russian regions, and a further reduction of time zones in Russia might take place in the future if the experiment proves positive, according to Medvedev.

The president also called upon experts to finalize their studies on the possible effects of abolishing the daylight saving time in Russia by February 2011.

"Many Russian citizens are not happy about those times switches," he said. "Nobody has ever told me it's a good thing and that they feel better. But we must take into account all factors involved," he said.

According to Russia's energy officials, the abolition of the daylight saving time would increase the country's energy consumption by 4.5 billion kWatt/hour which translates to about $85 million of extra spending.

The number of suicide attempts (after a time change) grows by 60 percent
--Scientist Sergei Kravchenko

But chief Kremlin economist Arkady Dvorkovich told Russian media it's false economy. The measure would increase energy consumption by only 1-3 percent, but the negative effects of the time switch are far worse, he said.

"The energy advantages are negligible," he said, "but the health of the people and their stable biological rhythms is a much more important factor."

Many experts argue that time changes expose people to additional stress which leads to more industrial and road accidents, as well as health problems for people with chronic diseases.

Daylight Saving Time may bring health problems

"Reports say that in the first 5 days after a time change the number of ambulance calls of patients with blood hypertension and cardiac infarction cases increases by 11 percent. And the number of suicide attempts in those days grows by 60 percent, " scientist Sergei Kravchenko told a popular Russian weekly.

Agriculture is also an industry that is negatively affected: Farm animals are used to being fed and milked at the same time and suffer when people change current time twice a year.

The general public is mostly welcoming the time reforms in Russia.

"It would indeed be great if they abolished the daylight saving time," one blogger said. "What kind of energy economy are you talking about? Major factories are working around the clock anyway. As for citizens, they pay their own electricity bills and want the government to leave them alone and not to stick its nose into their purses."

Next Year in the White House: A Seder Tradition

From: http://www.nytimes.com/

Pete Souza/White House

Last year's Seder, a White House first, saw the Macaroon Security Standoff.

WASHINGTON — One evening in April 2008, three low-level staff members from the Obama presidential campaign — a baggage handler, a videographer and an advance man — gathered in the windowless basement of a Pennsylvania hotel for an improvised Passover Seder.

Pete Souza/White House

Susan Sher, who is now Michelle Obama's chief of staff, at the White House Seder last year.

The day had been long, the hour was late, and the young men had not been home in months. So they had cadged some matzo and Manischewitz wine, hoping to create some semblance of the holiday.

Suddenly they heard a familiar voice. “Hey, is this the Seder?” Barack Obama asked, entering the room.

So begins the story of the Obama Seder, now one of the newest, most intimate and least likely of White House traditions. When Passover begins at sunset on Monday evening, Mr. Obama and about 20 others will gather for a ritual that neither the rabbinic sages nor the founding fathers would recognize.

In the Old Family Dining Room, under sparkling chandeliers and portraits of former first ladies, the mostly Jewish and African-American guests will recite prayers and retell the biblical story of slavery and liberation, ending with the traditional declaration “Next year in Jerusalem.” (Never mind the current chill in the administration’s relationship with Israel.)

Top aides like David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett will attend, but so will assistants like 24-year-old Herbie Ziskend. White House chefs will prepare Jewish participants’ family recipes, even rendering chicken fat — better known as schmaltz — for just the right matzo ball flavor.

If last year is any guide, Malia and Sasha Obama will take on the duties of Jewish children, asking four questions about the night’s purpose — along with a few of their own — and scrambling to find matzo hidden in the gleaming antique furniture.

That event was the first presidential Seder, and also probably “the first time in history that gefilte fish had been placed on White House dishware,” said Eric Lesser, the former baggage handler, who organizes each year’s ritual.

As in many Jewish households, the Obama Seder seems to take on new meaning each year, depending on what is happening in the world and in participants’ lives (for this group, the former is often the same as the latter).

The first one took place at the bleakest point of the campaign, the long prelude to the Pennsylvania primary, which was dominated by a furor over Mr. Obama’s former pastor. “We were in the desert, so to speak,” remembered Arun Chaudhary, then and now Mr. Obama’s videographer, who grew up attending Seders with his half-Jewish, half-Indian family.

No one led the proceedings; everyone took turns reading aloud. Mr. Obama had brought Reggie Love, his personal aide, Ms. Jarrett and Eric Whitaker, another close friend, all African-American. Jennifer Psaki, the traveling press secretary, and Samantha Tubman, a press assistant, filtered in. Neither had ever been to a Seder, but they knew the Exodus story, Ms. Psaki from Catholic school and Ms. Tubman from childhood Sundays at black churches.

They peppered the outnumbered Jews at the table with questions, which the young men sometimes struggled to answer. “We’re not exactly crack Hebrew scholars,” said Mr. Lesser, now an assistant to Mr. Axelrod.

Participants remember the evening as a rare moment of calm, an escape from the din of airplanes and rallies. As the tale of the Israelites unfolded, the campaign team half-jokingly identified with their plight — one day, they too would be free. At the close of the Seder, Mr. Obama added his own ending — “Next year in the White House!”

Indeed, the group, with a few additions, has now made the Seder an Executive Mansion tradition. (No one considered inviting prominent rabbis or other Jewish leaders; it is a private event.)

But maintaining the original humble feel has been easier said than done.

Ms. Tubman and Desirée Rogers, then the White House social secretary, tried to plan an informal meal last year, with little or even no wait staff required. White House ushers reacted with what seemed like polite horror. The president and the first lady simply do not serve themselves, they explained. The two sides negotiated a compromise: the gefilte fish would be preplated, the brisket passed family-style.

Then came what is now remembered as the Macaroon Security Standoff. At 6:30, with the Seder about to start, Neil Cohen, the husband of Michelle Obama’s friend and adviser Susan Sher, was stuck at the gate bearing flourless cookies he had brought from Chicago. They were kosher for Passover, but not kosher with the Secret Service, which does not allow food into the building.

Offering to help, the president walked to the North Portico and peered out the door, startling tourists. He volunteered to go all the way to the gates, but advisers stopped him, fearing that would cause a ruckus. Everyone seemed momentarily befuddled. Could the commander in chief not summon a plate of cookies to his table? Finally, Mr. Love ran outside to clear them.

Mr. Obama began the Seder by invoking the universality of the holiday’s themes of struggle and liberation. Malia and Sasha quickly found the hidden matzo and tucked it away again, so cleverly that Mr. Ziskend, the former advance man, needed 45 minutes to locate it. At the Seder’s close, the group opened a door and sang to the prophet Elijah.

In preparation for this year’s gathering, Mr. Lesser and others have again been collecting recipes from the guests, including matzo ball instructions from Patricia Winter, the mother of Melissa Winter, Mrs. Obama’s deputy chief of staff.

“We like soft (not hard) matzo balls,” Mrs. Winter warned in a note to the White House chefs, instructing them to buy mix but doctor it. Use three eggs, not two, she told them; substitute schmaltz for vegetable oil, and refrigerate them for a day before serving (but not in the soup).

The Seder originated with Jewish staff members on the campaign trail who could not go home, but now some celebrate at the White House by choice. Participants say their ties are practically familial now anyway. “Some of the most challenging experiences of our life we’ve shared together,” Ms. Jarrett said.

No one yet knows exactly what themes will emerge this year. Maybe “taking care of people who can’t take care of themselves and health care reform,” suggested Ms. Sher, now Mrs. Obama’s chief of staff.

The evening might also reflect a group that has settled into the White House and a staff more familiar with the new custom. Last week, Ms. Sher was leaving the East Wing when a guard stopped her.

“Hey, are you bringing macaroons again this year?” he asked.

Rover spots ‘strange stuff’ on Martian rock: Scientists puzzle over images showing tightly packed blueberries

MSN Tracking Image
MSNBC.com

Space.com
Image: Chocolate Hills
An enhanced-color image of the Chocolate Hills rock on Mars shows a strange coating that one researcher has called a "blueberry sandwich." The coating appears blue in this picture due to the false-color effect, but the naked eye would see this scene in shades of rusty red. Chocolate Hills is about the size of a loaf of bread. Click on the picture for a larger version.


NASA's Mars rover Opportunity has found a Martian rock covered in weird material as its odometer hit a major milestone this week, with the long-lived robot completing equivalent to a half–marathon on the Red Planet.

Opportunity, now in its seventh year on Mars, found the odd Mars rock during the past six weeks studying investigating a crater called "Concepción."

The crater is about 33 feet (10 meters) in diameter, with dark rays extending from it, as seen from orbit, which made it a target of interest for rover inspection because they suggest the crater is young.

The rover made the pit stop to investigate the crater on its long journey to the large crater Endeavour, which is still about 7 miles (12 kilometers) away. It was while Opportunity was at Concepción that the rover surpassed 12.43 miles (20 kilometers) of total driving, about the length of a half-marathon.

Opportunity has driven farther than any other wheeled robot to land on Mars. Its robotic twin Spirit, which landed in January 2004 just weeks ahead of Opportunity, has driven about 4.8 miles (7.7 kilometers), while NASA's Sojourner rover, a small robot that landed in 1997, could drive only about a third of a mile (about half a kilometer) from the Pathfinder base it landed with.

Mars rock oddity
With new software that allows Opportunity to photograph rocks and other aspects of the Martian terrain and decide for itself what is worth closer inspection, the rover took an up-close look at a few rocks ejected by the impact that created Concepción.

What Opportunity has seen are chunks of the same type of bedrock it has seen at hundreds of locations since landing in January 2004: soft, sulfate-rich sandstone holding harder peppercorn-size dark spheres like berries in a muffin. The little spheres, rich in iron, gained the nickname "blueberries." But these rocks have some unusual twists as well.

"It was clear from the images that Opportunity took on the approach to Concepción that there was strange stuff on lots of the rocks near the crater," said Steve Squyres of Cornell University, principal investigator for Opportunity and Spirit. "There's dark, grayish material coating faces of the rocks and filling fractures in them. At least part of it is composed of blueberries jammed together as close as you could pack them. We've never seen anything like this before."

Opportunity used tools on its robotic arm to examine this unusual material on a rock called "Chocolate Hills." In some places, the layer of closely packed spheres lies between thinner, smoother layers.

"It looks like a blueberry sandwich," said Matt Golombek, a rover science-team member at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Image: Rock closeup
NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell
A false-color image from the Opportunity rover's microscopic imager shows details of the "blueberry" coating on Chocolate Hills. The view covers an area about 1.2 inches (3 centimeters) across. Click on the picture to see a larger version.

Melted Mars rocks
Initial analysis of the coating's composition does not show any obvious component from whatever space rock hit Mars to dig the crater, but that is not a surprise, Golombek said. "The impact is so fast, most of the impactor vaporizes," he said. "Thin films of melt get thrown out, but typically the composition of the melt is the stuff that the impactor hit, rather than the impactor material."

The composition Opportunity found for the dark coating material fits at least two hypotheses being evaluated, and possibly others. One is that the material resulted from partial melting of blueberry-containing sandstone due to the energy of the impact. Another is that it formed from the filling of fractures in this type of rock before the impact occurred.

"It's possible that when you melt this rock, the sandstone melts before the blueberries do, leaving intact blueberries as part of a melt layer," Squyres said.

"As an alternative, we know that this type of rock has fractures and that the sandstone can dissolve," he said. "Long ago, water flowing through fractures could have dissolved the sandstone and liberated blueberries that fell down into the fracture and packed together. In this hypothesis, the impact that excavated the crater did not play a role in forming this material, but split rocks along fractures so the material is exposed on the exterior like a coating."

Image: Concepcion crater
NASA / JPL-Caltech / UA
An orbital image captured by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows the Opportunity rover (indicated by the white pointer) perched on the edge of Concepcion crater on Mars.

Golombek said, "One consideration that jumps out is that we've been driving around this part of Mars for six years and never seen this stuff before, then we get to this young crater and it's coating rocks all around the crater. Sure looks like there's a connection, but it could just be a coincidence."

The observation that the rocks thrown from the crater have not yet eroded away much is evidence that the crater is young, confirming the suggestion from the dark rays.

"We're not ready to attach a number to it, but this is really young. It is the youngest crater we've ever seen with Opportunity and probably the youngest either rover has seen," Squyres said.

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36037050/


© 2010 MSNBC.com
" name="ci" type="hidden">Rover spots ‘strange stuff’ on Martian rock Scientists puzzle over images showing tightly packed blueberriesSpace.com
updated 1:45 p.m. ET,Thurs., March. 25, 2010NASA's Mars rover Opportunity has found a Martian rock covered in weird material as its odometer hit a major milestone this week, with the long-lived robot completing equivalent to a half–marathon on the Red Planet.Opportunity, now in its seventh year on Mars, found the odd Mars rock during the past six weeks studying investigating a crater called "Concepción."The crater is about 33 feet (10 meters) in diameter, with dark rays extending from it, as seen from orbit, which made it a target of interest for rover inspection because they suggest the crater is young.The rover made the pit stop to investigate the crater on its long journey to the large crater Endeavour, which is still about 7 miles (12 kilometers) away. It was while Opportunity was at Concepción that the rover surpassed 12.43 miles (20 kilometers) of total driving, about the length of a half-marathon. Opportunity has driven farther than any other wheeled robot to land on Mars. Its robotic twin Spirit, which landed in January 2004 just weeks ahead of Opportunity, has driven about 4.8 miles (7.7 kilometers), while NASA's Sojourner rover, a small robot that landed in 1997, could drive only about a third of a mile (about half a kilometer) from the Pathfinder base it landed with.Mars rock oddity
With new software that allows Opportunity to photograph rocks and other aspects of the Martian terrain and decide for itself what is worth closer inspection, the rover took an up-close look at a few rocks ejected by the impact that created Concepción.
What Opportunity has seen are chunks of the same type of bedrock it has seen at hundreds of locations since landing in January 2004: soft, sulfate-rich sandstone holding harder peppercorn-size dark spheres like berries in a muffin. The little spheres, rich in iron, gained the nickname "blueberries." But these rocks have some unusual twists as well."It was clear from the images that Opportunity took on the approach to Concepción that there was strange stuff on lots of the rocks near the crater," said Steve Squyres of Cornell University, principal investigator for Opportunity and Spirit. "There's dark, grayish material coating faces of the rocks and filling fractures in them. At least part of it is composed of blueberries jammed together as close as you could pack them. We've never seen anything like this before."Opportunity used tools on its robotic arm to examine this unusual material on a rock called "Chocolate Hills." In some places, the layer of closely packed spheres lies between thinner, smoother layers."It looks like a blueberry sandwich," said Matt Golombek, a rover science-team member at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.Melted Mars rocks
Initial analysis of the coating's composition does not show any obvious component from whatever space rock hit Mars to dig the crater, but that is not a surprise, Golombek said. "The impact is so fast, most of the impactor vaporizes," he said. "Thin films of melt get thrown out, but typically the composition of the melt is the stuff that the impactor hit, rather than the impactor material."
The composition Opportunity found for the dark coating material fits at least two hypotheses being evaluated, and possibly others. One is that the material resulted from partial melting of blueberry-containing sandstone due to the energy of the impact. Another is that it formed from the filling of fractures in this type of rock before the impact occurred."It's possible that when you melt this rock, the sandstone melts before the blueberries do, leaving intact blueberries as part of a melt layer," Squyres said."As an alternative, we know that this type of rock has fractures and that the sandstone can dissolve," he said. "Long ago, water flowing through fractures could have dissolved the sandstone and liberated blueberries that fell down into the fracture and packed together. In this hypothesis, the impact that excavated the crater did not play a role in forming this material, but split rocks along fractures so the material is exposed on the exterior like a coating."Golombek said, "One consideration that jumps out is that we've been driving around this part of Mars for six years and never seen this stuff before, then we get to this young crater and it's coating rocks all around the crater. Sure looks like there's a connection, but it could just be a coincidence."The observation that the rocks thrown from the crater have not yet eroded away much is evidence that the crater is young, confirming the suggestion from the dark rays."We're not ready to attach a number to it, but this is really young. It is the youngest crater we've ever seen with Opportunity and probably the youngest either rover has seen," Squyres said.© 2010 Space.com. All rights reserved. More from Space.com.URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36037050/MSN Privacy .
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